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Luxury phone maker Vertu has a new owner, CEO steps down

Luxury smartphone brand Vertu has been sold, and its CEO Massimiliano Pogliani has decided to step down from his position. Vertu was sold to Swedish private equity firm EQT by Nokia back in 2012. Now, EQT has sold Vertu to Godin Holdings, a company based in Hong Kong about which little is known, along with an unnamed selection of private investors, according to a report by the Financial Times. No financial details are being given at this time, and the news has yet to be shared on Vertu’s website or through its social networking channels.

Updated on 11-04-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in a quote from CEO Massimiliano Pogliani, and some company performance data

Initially a side project under Nokia’s ownership, Vertu transformed when it was sold to EQT. The company adopted Android — its early feature phones ran Nokia’s feature phone software — and moved away from the over-the-top designs on phones with limited functionality, to create more attractive, high-spec devices that managed to capitalize on a growing interest in luxury tech products.

Vertu New Signature Touch
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Max Pogliani joined the company as chief marketing officer during this transition, having come from Nestle’s Nespresso premium coffee brand, and became CEO in 2013. In a statement given to Digital Trends, he’s quoted as saying:

“I have enjoyed my time with Vertu immensely and am proud of what has been achieved over the past three years. Now, with the successful transition to a new investment partner complete, it is an appropriate time to pass on the baton of leadership to a new team. I look forward to reading of Vertu’s continued success over the coming years.”

At the time of writing, a new CEO hasn’t been announced. The company will continue to operate from its headquarters in the UK, where 450 people are employed, and the business isn’t expected to alter. The company says it has sold 450,000 devices globally.

The changes come just weeks after Vertu announced its latest smartphone, the New Signature Touch. An evolution of the original Signature Touch, the phone features a distinctive gull-wing door-style design on the rear, covering the SIM and MicroSD card trays. Like all other Vertu phones, it’s handmade using materials including titanium, sapphire, and leather. The signature of the person responsible for building the device is hidden beneath one of these doors. On average, you’ll have to spend around £5,000/$7,000 to own a Vertu phone.

Article originally published on 11-03-2015